Phoenix has become one of the fastest growing and desirable places to live in the country. With its upward expansion and more residents arriving daily, it seems like available properties are being snatched up by homebuyers and investors as soon as they hit the market. However, some buyers may buy Phoenix properties expecting to make significant structural or land development changes in the future. When municipal zoning ordinances prohibit plans for a particular property, the buyer will have to request permission or a variance for the proposed change. ?Here is what you need to know about getting a variance for your Phoenix property.
What is an Arizona Variance?
In Arizona, like most other states, a property owner needs a variance, or permission, anytime he or she wants to do something with the property which is not allowed under the applicable zoning ordinance.? For instance, the zoning ordinance may require setbacks of 50 feet, which the owner may want to reduce.? Another reason may be to build a structure on the property on the land or to use the property in a specific way for business purposes.
Area v. Use Variances
In Arizona, there are two types of variances: Use and area variances.? A use variance allows a use not permitted by a zoning ordinance.? An area variance concerns technical aspects of the property such as setback, lot size, wall and fence heights, and yard requirements. ?An owner seeking an area variance must show ?peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties,? while someone seeking a use variance has to demonstrate ?exceptional and undue hardship.? When the owner applies for a variance with the local zoning administrator and is denied, he or she may appeal.
Boards of Adjustment
Arizona law provides that cities and towns can create boards of adjustment to consider appeals from decisions concerning zoning ordinance enforcement.? The board of adjustment will then decide if there are special circumstances which would allow the property owner to get an exception to the ordinance.?? The board of adjustment may only grant area variances if, due to special circumstances, the strict application of the ordinance deprives the property owner of privileges which other owners in the same category in the same district enjoy. ?Arizona law prohibits boards of adjustment from changing permitted uses, which in effect, only allows them authority to consider area variances.
What the Owner Must Show for Special Circumstances
There are several facts that a property owner must establish to be granted a variance.? For instance, a property owner must be able to show that their property has unique conditions such as an unusual landscape or lot size.? The owner must also demonstrate that he or she is not responsible for the hardship created by the special condition and that the variance is needed for the owner to enjoy the property. Additionally, the variance cannot be harmful to those around or near the property.? There are also other requirements which must be met before an owner may get a variance.
The variance process can be extremely complicated, and without the right evidence and information, you may be denied.? Having the assistance of an experienced Arizona real estate attorney to prepare your variance application and demonstrate that you have met all of the necessary requirements is vital.
Attorney Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who can provide you with the guidance you need during the variance process.? If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona and throughout the state of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.